In Treatment -- Jake & Amy, week 4

Ah, the patients who least interest me again.

Paul is shelving a book, when he takes down a book of photographs of nudes. Then it is 5 o'clock and Amy arrives, without Jake. Amy says she doesn't know if he is coming and then he arrives.

Jake sits down at the opposite end of the couch from Amy. Amy sits there smiling enigmatically. Then Paul says he has to take the phone call - he says  on the phone that as far as he is concerned, she can go home -- indicating Sophie, probably.

He apologizes again for taking the call. Amy asks if he usually takes calls during sessions. Paul again apologizes and says it was important. Jake at first defends Paul then agrees with Amy that at his rates, even a minute is expensive.

Paul notes that both of them keep coming, even when it is difficult. Amy sees it as indicative of their predictability. They argue a bit. Then Amy asks what happened with them. Jake says what happened is that they started therapy, that it has made things worse. Paul observes that maybe their arguments there have become more frequent, but that doesn't mean they are headed to divorce, that maybe they fight there because it is safe.

Amy disparages Jake and his friends as unsuccessful. Jake jabs at Amy about her drinking. Amy says it used to turn him on that she could drink like a guy when they were out with his friends. Jake points out they are the friends that she just characterized as failures. They trade jabs about how the other embarrasses them. Tit for tat arguing.

Jake angrily tells Paul to stop saying "it's interesting" or he will deck him. Jake's anger alternates between Paul and Amy as targets.

Paul observes that characteristics that each used to see as interesting or sexy they now denigrate. Jake become possessive when he is threatened and then Amy becomes secretive. And that they are both afraid to stop doing this. 

Paul asks how it was that they began an affair while Amy was married to her previous husband. Amy tells a story that they both know but which never happened. Then they tell what really happened, something they then argue about.

Paul reflects to them they started with distance between them, then joined to attack him after the phone call and if perhaps this is a recurrent dynamic between them, that perhaps the conflict is what keeps them interested in each other.

Another fight ensues -- Jake calls her a liar and she becomes enraged, moves to hit Jake. Then Jake takes out his phone because he recorded what she said. Amy leaves and says she is not coming back to Jake. Jake sits back and rather smugly says she is out of control and he is afraid she might hurt someone. He says she is like a getaway driver without seat belts. Paul asks about the image and he says it is from a dream he had, where they are in a car, Amy is driving and they are going to rob a store. 

Jake asks if Paul thinks she loves him. Paul asks him what he thinks and then says he thinks she does love him and that Jake loves her too, that love is not the problem. Paul asks if Jake has ever recorded the fights they have before. And then asks him why. Jake says he just wants to know what's happening. 

Jake gets up to go and says he thinks they won't arrive together next week.


Paul does some nice work with this couple today. He succeeds in making a connection with Jake, by the end, a very big deal given Jake's expressed opinion of the value of the therapy. But they are so volatile, it may be that Jake is right and they will likely end in divorce.

There is a foundational problem in their marriage because it began when Amy was still married to another man. The potential for a repetition of this hangs over the relationship from the start, whether or not it is spoken or even conscious. If she got tired of one husband and had an affair, why wouldn't she again, after all. And it takes a strong commitment to the process to dig down into that kind of issue and hang in there. It is not at all clear that Jake or Amy has that kind of commitment to looking at themselves and what they have built their relationship upon.

Marriage is among other things a psychological relationship, as Jung wrote (full text of the essay at the link) --

"The peculiar harmony that characterizes marriage during the first half of life -- provided the adjustment is successful -- is largely based on the projection of certain archetypal images, as the critical phase makes clear.

Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definite feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, an hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organic system of the man, an imprint or 'archetype" of all the ancestral experiences of the female, a deposit, as it were, of all the impressions ever made by woman-in short, an inherited system of psychic adaptation. Even if no women existed, it would still be possible, at any given time, to deduce from this unconscious image exactly how a woman would have to be constituted psychically. The same is true of the woman: she too has her inborn image of man. Actually, we know from experience that it would be more accurate to describe it as an image of men, whereas in the case of the man it is rather the image of woman. Since this image is unconscious, it is always unconsciously projected upon the person of the beloved, and is one of the chief reasons for passionate attraction or aversion. I have called this image the "anima," ... Woman has no anima...but she has an animus. The anima has an erotic, emotional character, the animus a rationalizing one. Hence most of what men say about feminine eroticism, and particularly about the emotional life of women, is derived from their own anima projections and distorted accordingly. On the other hand, the astonishing assumptions and fantasies that women make about men come from the activity of the animus, who produces an inexhaustible supply of illogical arguments and false explanations."

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.